WILL ROGERS AND WILEY POST DIED IN AIR CRASH 78 YEARS AGO TODAY
Barrow, Alaska (JFK+50) Comedian, entertainer and newspaper columnist, Will Rogers*, along with aviator Wiley Post**, died 78 years ago today, August 15, 1935, in attempting to take off in bad weather here in Barrow.
Will Rogers and Wiley Post
Will Rogers asked Mr. Post to fly him to Alaska so he could get new material for his newspaper column.
The pair departed Lake Washington, near Seattle, early in the month of August 1935 with Post at the controls and Rogers banging away on his typewriter.
After having made several stops in Alaska, their Lockeed Orion-Explorer aircraft encountered bad weather. Post made a landing in a lagoon near Barrow to get directions.
In the attempt to take off again, the engine failed and the airplane took a nose dive into the lagoon.
Both men died instantly in the crash.
Will Rogers, known as the Oklahoma Cowboy, once said...
"My epitaph is going to read: 'I never met a man I didn't like'."
And on another occasion, he proclaimed....
"I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat."
*Will Rogers (1879-1835) was born in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) to a prominent Cherokee family. Although a good student and avid reader, he dropped out of school to become a cowboy and circus performer.
On a visit to New York City, he got a job in vaudeville and from there landed a contract in Hollywood. Rogers made 50 silent films and 21 sound films.
He also published a popular newspaper column.
Although a Democrat, he supported Calvin Coolidge and later quipped about FDR's New Deal...
"The money we...spend on government (and it's) not one bit better than the government we got for one-third the money 20 years ago."
**Wiley Post (1898-1935), the 1st pilot to fly solo around the world, was born in Grand Saline, Texas. He moved to Oklahoma by 1920 and began a career in aviation with a flying circus.
Underwood and Underwood (1931)
Library of Congress Image